Drunk After Work: SOL Cocina
The Hours: Daily (including weekends), 3-6 p.m.
The Deal: $3 off wine by the glass, $3 beer, $5 house margaritas and well drinks, $6 shots of blanco tequila, $10 tequila flight. Various specials on happy hour snacks (called antojitos).
The Scene: A wall of windows overlooking busy Balboa Harbor (if you prefer to boat in, you can call the harbormaster and ask for the adjacent slips), with warm tile and a caged firepit indoors. The crowd is eclectic Newport: moneyed people dressed more nicely than expected, beach bums down from nearby Huntington, and folks from hither and yon who've stopped in for a drink.
The Verdict: Newport is awash in happy hours, and Newport is awash in Mexican restaurants, but historically the two haven't gone together in a good way, until now. Service was that perfect OC blend of laid-back and sincere. Come in and kick back, sip your drinks slowly, and actually be happy during happy hour.
The Grade: A.